Episode 36: CBD in South America



Joe: On this episode of "The CBD University Podcast" we're talking CBD outside of the USA. We head to South America virtually of course to learn about the CBD marketplace for consumers and retailers in South America. How does it differ with what we are used to here in the U.S.? What are the popular products? What challenges face retailers and how does everyone stay on top of education? This is "The CBD University Podcast" and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of "The CBD University Podcast" and if this is your first podcast tuning in, we are glad you found our podcast on your platform of choice. If you are a returning listener, we thank you once again for tuning in. If you are watching us on our YouTube channel where all of our episodes have full video, you'll notice this episode looks a lot different than anything we've done prior and that is because my guest is joining me from one of our distribution partners in South America. He's joining me remotely and given the current health situation, we figured that for this podcast, it would be best to do it remotely as much as it would be nice to be down there in person. But we are talking about all of our distribution and we're highlighting Mobimo Distribution as we talk about CBD in South America. It's always a pleasure to catch up with our retail partners and distributors of our premium hemp derived CBD products, whether it's from Hemp Bombs, Nature's Script, Perfect Paws Hemp across all of our brands. And I'm extremely excited to welcome to our podcast, Martin Belmonte, who is with one of our distributors, as I mentioned from South America, Mobimo. Martin joins us remotely for this episode, as I said, but welcome Martin to the podcast.

Martin: Hey, Joe. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me on board.

Joe: First of all, we'll start off real easy. Tell our listeners and those watching on our YouTube channel a little bit about Mobimo, where you guys are based, history of the business.

Martin: Absolutely. Yeah, Mobimo is a distribution company. We started out originally in Miami catering to the South American market and we have since expanded over to South America, primarily in Chile, but also in Buenos Aires, Argentina. So we distribute Hemp Bombs to a wide variety of customers all around South America ranging from vape shops, smoke shops, we have convenience stores, liquor shops, we've been working with personal trainers and so forth. So, we have a really wide variety of customers that also resell these products.

Joe: And how did you find out about our premium hemp-derived CBD products from Hemp Bombs?

Martin: I actually met Vincent at one of the trade shows over in Miami. So, I went to the trade show and was making my rounds and I noticed the Hemp Bombs booth which stood out, the graphics are really flashy, the designs were really nice. And I just thought I'd say hi, talk to Vincent. We started out with a starter pack and the rest is history from there. The product just flew right off our shelves and we've had to reorder many, many, many times since.

Joe: That's good to hear. So, how long ago was that trade show? And have you expanded the relationship at all since then?

Martin: Oh, absolutely. I mean, we've grown exponentially. That was a little over two years ago. And since then not only have the products increased, but the demand has increased a lot. You know, these kind of products are very new in South America. Comparing it to the trends in the U.S., we're always a couple years kind of behind. So, people are learning a lot about CBD and we're still spreading information about it every day.

Joe: And so, you've been carrying our products for almost three years now and you talk a little bit about the graphics and the packaging. But what stood out about the brand and the products that you do carry?

Martin: Well, you know, we saw that there was a wide array of packaging ranging from like a very small size to a larger size. So, it was something great for us to start out with because it is on the affordable price range. You know, a lot of CBD products are kind of expensive. With Hemp Bombs you can kind of get a smaller pack of gummies or have capsules or something like that, and you can try the product out without having to buy a huge quantity upfront. So, that's kind of what really helped us grow the brand in South America, it was an affordable product that everyone could try out and we could scale it quite largely.

Joe: When introducing new products into South America, what typically is a process for really any type of product that you bring back from maybe a trade show? You know, do you test it out for a certain amount of time and then decide to add it to expand the offerings? How does something like that usually work out, and I'm talking really any product that you may introduce to any of your retail locations.

Martin: Right. So, we always wanna try the products out before we do a massive purchase and kind of distribute it massively. Usually what we do is we start out with education to our customers, letting them know about the product, what it does, how it works. And from there, we start scaling it out to some of our best retailers to see how they do with it. And then from there, we just grow the product out and massify it. We have a pretty good marketing team as well. So, we do a lot of information...we diffuse a lot of information through social media, through email marketing. Our sales reps have a great relationship with their clients. So, as soon as we get new products in, you better believe that they're calling all their clients and letting them know about the good things we just got in.

Joe: And let's talk about the CBD market in South America. Many of our listeners and viewers are based here in the U.S., but what's the industry like down there as to what we're used to here?

Martin: Right, it's still quite new, so most people want to learn about it, they're still on the learning phase of CBD. You know, there are some people that are more experienced with CBD, but generally most consumers are gonna say, "What's CBD, and how does it work, and is it good for me?" So, a lot of what we do is educate our consumers on CBD and what we recommend them to take.

Joe: And what's the best ways that you guys have found out for education on getting those messages across to consumers?

Martin: One of the primary methods is social media. We do, you know, good posts, we actually have Instagram Live as well with some of our sales reps that go on there. They might even interview an influencer or somebody and kind of talk about, kind of how we're doing right here. And we'll just go from there, we kind of see what the biggest questions people have about the products are. And then we provide maybe graphics, we actually have a marketing team that provides free graphics for our clients. So, once a shop in the South American market picks up these products, we create graphics for them for social media, we might even send a sales rep to their store to explain how the products work and how to sell them. Because we know that it all starts with knowledge. You know, a lot of people aren't really gonna be willing to take a product unless they know how it works or what it's gonna do to them. So, we just wanna make sure that our clients are comfortable with these products and that they have all the information that they need to make the right decision.

Joe: And I can tell you if folks are out there following our social media networks, they've probably seen some of your stories that you tag us in, we try and share it anytime. You or any of our distribution partners, but that's the easiest way for us to share the good stuff that you're doing socially is to just tag us or use our hashtag and we'll be sure to share that out. So, what are some of the most popular products that retailers offer to their customers in South America that you've seen and heard?

Martin: I'd say right off the bat, the top three for us are gonna be the gummies, the tinctures, and the Pain Freeze. Those three just sell like crazy.

Joe: Now, when you first started out, did you start out with one particular product? I know you talked about expansion of products. What was it like when you first started out?

Martin: When we first started out, you know, we weren't really sure how these products were gonna move. Nobody knew what CBD was in our market. So, I told people, "Hey, we're bringing in CBD, we got some in." And 9 out of 10 people were like, "What is that? Does it get me high?" And so, we had to kind of educate the consumer about how it works, explain that it's not psychoactive at all, that the effects are more physical in their body and just educate the consumer from there on.

Joe: And have you taken on more products since that initial offering?

Martin: Well, the Hemp Bombs line has grown quite a bit since we started working and we have every single product in inventory. So, we definitely have expanded quite a bit what we offer. At the beginning, people would just kind of buy what we had, and then now our customers are getting pickier and they want some really specific products because they're a lot more familiar with it. So, you know, for example, we sell some products to like tattoo parlors, and we actually have like a tattoo cream. And that's something that we have a hard time selling to like a vape shop, for example. You know what I mean? And then maybe the vape shop won't wanna pick up the Pain Freeze either. But we have physical therapists that are actually some of our clients that pick up the Pain Freeze for their customers, you know. So, a lot of different people do have like a niche product for them. But in general, it's all about having the mix of all the products so people can make the choice.

Joe: Now, as the industry continues to evolve, what are some of the most common questions you here from your retailers in regards to selling CBD?

Martin: One of the main questions they ask is, if it gets them stoned or if it gets them high. And a lot of people just don't really know what CBD is. So, we try to educate them on how that works. They wanna know how much they should take, they wanna know if there's a difference between, for example, eating a gummy, or taking a capsule, and we explained to them actually, it's quite the same thing. They have the same amount of CBD in them. So, it's just a different presentation, depending on what you're comfortable with.

Joe: And we talked a little bit about the education of consumers in the CBD landscape. You know, as more and more people educate themselves, you talk about getting out in front of them on the education. What have you heard from retailers about questions that they're getting maybe from consumers who are coming into the store and trying to figure out what this is and what it's gonna do for them? You know, we talk always about the quality and the compliance of products in regards to that.

Martin: Absolutely. Well, a lot of people just have particular situations, you know, every customer is different. So, people just kind of wanna make sure that it's the right product for them. They wanna make sure that they're taking the right amount, that it's gonna have the right effects, and that it's gonna kind of point them in the right direction where they want to go. So, a lot of the questions we have are, how to consume the products, how much to take, which product we recommend for them to take, and so forth.

Joe: And finally, I know it's hard to predict the future, but what emerging trends have you seen in the industry specific to South America, that may be similar or different to some of the industry trends around the U.S., especially as more South American countries move to legalize CBD into 2021?

Martin: Right, well, you know, each country in South America works independently with their laws. So, there are huge differences when you look at one country compared to another country. A lot of countries are way more open to CBD than others. For example, in Chile, CBD is not illegal, it's just very tricky to work. You know, a lot of people aren't really sure if it's legal for them to sell, if they can retail it and the laws are always changing. So, it's definitely going in the direction of being more open with CBD. And we're seeing that countries are being more acceptable of CBD consumption.

Joe: And what about for Mobimo as we head into the second half of, actually, we're into the second half of 2020, towards the end of 2020, hard to believe, and into 2021 as a company, what's going on in your guy's side from a distribution side as to what you're looking forward to the most?

Martin: Well, we're just looking for the market to open up more and more because people are just super eager to have these products and the demand has just been increasing exponentially. Like I mentioned, the first step is kind of information to make sure the customers know what CBD is, to know how it works and then make sure they know what products are right for them. And then from there on, it just goes like that. Because once people know which product's right for them and what it's gonna do to them, they're on board. They just love CBD, it's grown exponentially. A lot of it is word of mouth, customers telling their friends and so forth about CBD. So, we definitely have seen a huge increase in demand in 2020. Moving forward, we expect that demand to increase, we do have pretty good projections going on moving forward.

Joe: That's great to hear. Here in our year of more, you'll see more new products and in more milligrams of CBD. We've already introduced our new line of gummies and oils, and certainly there'll be more topicals and more products overall coming soon. So, as demand increases, we look forward to continuing our partnership and I wanna thank you for coming on this episode of "The CBD University Podcast."

Martin: Hey, thank you for having me, Joe, it was my pleasure. Looking foward to chatting with you some more in the future.

Joe: Absolutely. It was a pleasure catching up with you and I look forward to doing it again. I wanna let our listeners and viewers know that you can follow Mobimo on Instagram to learn about CBD products available in South America and keep up the great work and getting the word out. We always appreciate it. Once again Martin Belmonte from Mobimo Distribution as we get a look at the CBD industry in South America. Thank you for tuning into this episode of "The CBD University Podcast." And if you're watching on our YouTube channel, we hope you enjoy this special episode as we take a look at CBD outside of the USA. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or on our YouTube channel, you'll get notifications each week when new episodes of "The CBD University Podcast" are published. I'm Joe Agostinelli,the host of "The CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This content is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.